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Unincorporated Churches - Part 2


• Can a member of an unincorporated church sue the church for damages sustained because of the negligence of another church member? No, concluded the Indiana Supreme Court in a recent case. The member had been seriously injured while repairing a church roof when he fell off of a ladder that had been negligently positioned by another member. The injured member sued the church for damages, and the church defended itself by arguing that an unincorporated church cannot be sued by one member for injuries resulting from the negligence of another member. The state supreme court agreed with the church's position, observing that the rule "followed by the majority of jurisdictions is that a member of an unincorporated association injured due to the conduct of another member cannot sue the association." This rule, noted the court, is based on the principle that "the members of an unincorporated ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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  • November 1, 1988

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